The Life & Times of Zoe-Part One

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

― A.A. Milne, The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh


On a gorgeous, late September day, we said goodbye to our girl Zoe. The front door wide open so she could see out (Her favorite activity). Sky blazing blue. Sun shining bright.  We chose at home euthanization through Lap of Love. A service I couldn’t recommend more!

Zoe was surrounded by her favorite people. Her fur brothers. And her favorite things. As far as goodbyes go, it probably couldn’t have gone better. But. Its been a very hard two months for her dad and I. We just weren’t ready to say goodbye.

She had waged a short but ferocious battle against bladder cancer, and left us, at the approximate age of 11 years old. It wasn’t enough time. And selfishly, I constantly want her back with me.

I have loved and lost many pets in my life. Zoe was not the first. Nor will she be the last. But she has been a very hard one. And I am not entirely sure why.

Oh. I have some guesses for sure.

See, Zoe was my 2nd life dog. I know. Sounds silly. But let me explain.

I had a pre-Zoe life and a post-Zoe life.

In 2008, after 13 years together, my first husband and I divorced. After much discussion and thought, we decided that he would keep our two dogs at that time. This is a decision I will most likely second guess until my time on earth is done and I carry a shit ton of guilt about it.

All I can say is at the time it felt like the best thing for THEM. To not separate them. To not uproot them. But the day I walked out of our home my relationship with them changed. Sure. I still saw them. And I was there when each of them passed on. But I no longer felt like their “mom”. And that is some heavy ass guilt to bear.

In the Fall of 2008 I packed up my belongings and moved from Ohio to Orlando. I left behind a great job, friends, family, and my two dogs I adored. I wanted to see where a new relationship I was in would take me. (Flash forward, and maybe some day another blog post, I married him, and he is now husband #2).

I had a hard time in Florida. It was the beginning of the financial crisis. I couldn’t find a similar paying job. I had no one outside of my husband to be. I was depressed. Sad. Lonely. And so after one tear filled call with the ex (Yes, we are to this day, still friends, and that is DEFINITELY another blog post) He said to me “You know what you need Dawn? You need to get another dog. You need someone to look after.”


Literally, the very next day I headed to the shelter. There were two dogs I was interested in. A big behemoth white Pit Bull mix who would come to the front of the kennel and do his best to charm me.

And then there was Zoe.

She had her back to me. Stayed at the back of her kennel with her nose against the wall. I read her cage card and it had a euthanasia date one week prior. I flagged down an attendant and asked. He let me know that “Someone in the back took a liking to her so they gave her another week”. Her week was almost up.

I took her outside to the play yard. Because after a lifetime of animal ownership and volunteering, I know that the dog you see at the shelter is rarely the dog you will get.

She was shy. Scared. And really, didn’t want much to do with me. I could tell whatever had happened to her in her first year of life, she had ZERO reason to trust or like humans.

I sure do like a challenge!

I threw a ball to her. She looked at me like I was crazy. But as I talked to her in my sweet, doggy mommy voice, she wagged her tail. Just once. That’s all she gave me.

And honestly. That’s all I really needed.

I brought Brian over at his lunch hour to see BOTH dogs. And to this day I tease him mercilessly because he truly did like the white dog. But it was Zoe who won me over, and in turn, she was the one we adopted.

For certain, we saved her life that day. But, in so many more ways, she saved mine as well…She was my 2nd life dog…And what a life its been!!

To be continued…



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